Gwanda provincial magistrate Reuben Mukavhi on Thursday ordered an Esigodini commercial farmer to immediately vacate his farm and pave way for a senior intelligence officer.
By Own correspondent
Mukavhi ordered Timothy Sean White to vacate Lot 2 of Lot 36 of Essexvale Avalon Farm which was allocated to Matabeleland South intelligence officer Zenzo Ntuliki.
The ruling came a month after Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko intervened to stop Matobo Central Intelligence Organisation officer Rodney Mashingaidze from taking over Maleme Ranch following protests by locals.
White was fined $300 or 30 days in prison for illegally occupying gazetted land.
In sentencing White, Mukavhi said the farmer had shown a disregard of the law by continuously occupying the land despite him being advised to vacate the farm by the relevant authorities.
“Your moral blameworthiness is high,” the magistrate said.
Prosecutor Blessing Gundani urged the court not to give White more time to vacate the farm since he was supposed to have done so in 2007.
Gundani described White as “stubborn or rude” for remaining on the farm even after he had been told to vacate the farm by land officials.
Through his lawyer Stephen Collier of Webb, Low and Barry, White had argued he was the rightful owner of the farm.
He argued that he was occupying the farm by virtue of a permit extended to him by the Lands ministry in 2007 which was confirmed in a letter written to him on May 17 the same year.
White said his permit had not been cancelled, neither had he been issued with a notice to vacate the farm.
However, Mukavhi dismissed as “nonsense“ the defence claims that White could have mistaken the letter for a permit. He said White occupied a portion of the farm measuring 30ha by virtue of mining rights he possessed.
Allegations against White were that sometime in 2003 a notice was issued in terms of the Land Acquisition Act of the president’s intention to compulsorily acquire Avalon Farm for the purposes of resettlement.
White was allegedly supposed to vacate the piece of land in 2007, but did not comply, leading to his arrest.
The farm was allocated to Ntuliki in December last year and he was presented with an offer letter.